Dean Koontz’s newest novel, Ashley Bell * A Review book.._AA160_Ashley Bell‘ by Dean Koontz **   A Review reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing

Every time I begin a new Dean Koontz novel (and I’ve read them all!) a few chapters in I say to myself, ‘this is the best one ever’. And it is. Just a few pages into this story, imagine my delight when a golden retriever, Olaf, appears in Bibi’s life.  Why? you might ask?

Dean Koontz and I have had a ‘doggy’ friendship for close to 20 years.  Over those years, he and I have coincidentally adopted rescue/service Golden Retrievers.

Dean Koontz and Trixie
Dean and his beloved Trixie

I’m on my fourth. Dean’s latest is lovely Anna. (for more about this read my interview with Dean).

Gus & Rocky

I challenge any reader to not be totally enchanted by the third…no…the first chapter of Ashley Bell.  Dean writes what I call poetry-fiction…prose. Writing about a foggy coastal night:  “…those fumes were only slithers of mist seeping through the screen that covered the attic vents. As though the ocean of fog outside possessed curiosity about the contents of the houses currently submerged in it…” The imagery he creates makes me weep, as a writer. The characters draw you in and leave you rooting for them, hoping nothing bad happens, wanting a happy ending for someone besides yourself. Continue reading “Dean Koontz’s newest novel, Ashley Bell * A Review”

Authors, Where Do You Find Your Characters?

Over and over again, I preach the concept:  ‘let it flow’, ‘let your characters take you on a journey’, ‘If it’s going well, I will happily be just the typist’.

I recently interviewed Dean Koontz and here’s what he said on the subject:

Photographer: Thomas Engstrom

“And then I start. In the first few chapters, the lead characters are forming, and I am learning who they are. I’ve often said that if I give characters free will, if I don’t plot out the story and instead present them with a problem and watch them deal with it, they begin to take on a life of their own, frequently surprising me with the choices they make. This is mysterious and exciting. When it’s going well, it’s simultaneously an intense intellectual endeavor and an almost dream-state journey of wonder and emotion.”

Author, Matt Jorgenson recently said when asked: Where do you first discover your characters?
“Initially I don’t think of them as characters. It’s kind of like arranging furniture. I need OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsomething tall here, wide there, elegant there. I often just plop them in for the energy they lend to the development of the story. When I’m unable to sit at my laptop and write I will often sketch out backstories for some of the characters with pen and paper based on what seems reasonable according to how they act/function in the story and then weave those details back in later.”

Continue reading “Authors, Where Do You Find Your Characters?”

Review~~’The City’ by Dean Koontz

reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writing reviews, authors, writingreviews, authors, writing REVIEW ~~ ‘The City’ by Dean Koontz  (5 out of 5 quills)

True to Dean Koontz’s style he starts the reader off with a great tale of a musical family….Grandfather is a ‘piano man’ , mother is a jazz singer and eight year old Jonah is a wanna be piano man without a piano.  You see, Mom is a single parent, married to an absent, then back again, no good, shiftless man.  Theirs is a tight-knit lower middle class family squeaking by.The.City.Koontzindex

Then on about page 100, the weird stuff starts to happen and you know you are back in another of Koontz’s scary plots.  ‘The City’ does not disappoint;  you’ll love the characters in the story, good and bad.  The story is written in first person from Jonah’s point of view and it certainly took me back to being just a kid with very real monsters under the bed and in the bedroom closet.  And Jonah Kirk is a great kid; not too good, he’s still a kid and isn’t above lying to get out of potential trouble. He has a mentor who becomes an unlikely but loveable friend when he needs a friend the most.
As always, it’s a chilling, terrifying tale where you hope that good triumphs over evil but, not until the last few pages, will you know if Koontz sees it your way.


Continue reading “Review~~’The City’ by Dean Koontz”

My Interview with Dean Koontz! (part 2)

dean2photo_9Q: When did you begin to write seriously?

A: While I was in college. I sold my first short story when I was a senior, and the same piece won a prize in the college-writing contest Atlantic Monthly conducted at that time. I wasn’t very good for a number of years, but I kept selling. Later, I recovered the rights to all that early stuff and deep-sixed it, mostly science fiction and Gothic novels.

Q: What makes a writer great?

A: Writing truth, I think. By which I don’t necessarily mean entirely realistic settings and story lines. Any genre allows for the writing of truth. To do it means to write stories that are more than plot, to write characters that feel like real people, and to avoid writing ideologically. These days, a great deal of fiction is ideological, and that approach virtually ensures a limited lifespan for the work. Resist the temptation to be swept away by current
“issues” in your work and write instead about timeless human values and hopes. Ideologies sooner or later collapse due to the tendency of ideologues to ignore all manner of realities in the fashioning of their ideologies.

Q: What does the process of going from “no book” to “finished book,” look like? Continue reading “My Interview with Dean Koontz! (part 2)”

Interview with the Master of Suspense, Dean Koontz (part 1)

Dean.Koontz.TrixieScanMy love of Golden Retrievers and Dean Koontz’s brilliant writing began decades ago when I read Koontz’s book, ‘Watchers‘.  One of the heroes of the story was Einstein, a super smart golden retriever.  I promised myself that when I retired and could dedicate time to a larger dog,  I would own my first Golden.   I remember back to getting my first; Sadie.  I was so excited that  I sent Dean photos of her, (nine weeks old) romping in gold and red fall leaves.  I enclosed a note from Sadie to Trixie and  darned if she didn’t write back.

Dean and Trixie, circa 2000



Q: Where do you write? Do you have a special room, shed, barn, special space for your writing?

A: I have a home office. I work at a horseshoe-shaped desk, the long arms of which are fifteen feet. The desk is made of (and the office is paneled with) honey-toned quarter-cut anigre, and the desk top is of black marble with gold veining. There are bookshelves with books but also a collection of Bakelite radios from the Art Deco period. Most of the radios still work, though you have  to wait for the vacuum tubes to heat up.

Continue reading “Interview with the Master of Suspense, Dean Koontz (part 1)”

Saturday is the BIG Day….an Interview with Dean Koontz!

dean_photo_1FANS will not want to miss this exciting, in-depth interview with Dean Koontz, master of the suspense thriller for three decades!  Just in time to also announce the release of his latest book,  “The City”  July 1st.

‘Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share.

Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.’  (courtesy of

The New York Times has called his writing “psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying.” The New Orleans Times-Picayune said Koontz is, “at times lyrical without ever being naive or romantic. [He creates] a grotesque world, much like that of Flannery O’Conner or Walker Percy … scary, worthwhile reading.” Rolling Stone has hailed him as “America’s most popular suspense novelist.”

A two part Interview June 28th and July 1st.  Don’t Miss It!!

Interview with Mega-star Author, Dean Koontz

After interviewing best-selling authors now for two years, I have the great privilege of sharing with you, an interview with Dean Koontz  beginning June 28th.

Dean and Trixie, circa 2000
Dean and Trixie, circa 2000

I first met Dean in the pages of ‘Watchers’ starring (in my opinion) the brainy and magnificent Golden Retriever, Einstein.  From that day forward I lived for the day that I would have my first ‘golden’.  My interview begins with the story of my Sadie and Dean’s Trixie (a retired golden retriever service dog) and the letter.  It’s just too rich  not to share.

Since Trixie, Dean has always had a golden retriever in his family as have I.

Hope you will stop back by on June 28th and July 1st  for this fascinating and in depth visit (2 parts)  with this mega-star author, Dean Koontz!

Sadie, 2012
Sadie, 2012